From the Book of Valentines

by Bliss Carman



"Nor knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbour's creed has lent."




All day the weary crowds move on 
Through the grey city's stifling heat, 
With anxious air, with jaded mien, 
To strife, to labour, to defeat.

But I possess my soul in calm,

Because I know, unvexed by noise,
Somewhere across the city's hum
Your splendid spirit keeps its poise.




Because I see you bright and brave, 
I say to my despondent heart, 

"Up, loiterer! Put off this guise 
Of gloom, and play the sturdier part!"

Three things are given man to do: 
To dare, to labour, and to grow. 
Not otherwise from earth we came, 


Nor otherwise our way we go.

Three things are given man to be:
Cheerful, undoubting, and humane,
Surviving through the direst fray,
Preserving the untarnished strain.


Three things are given man to know:
Beauty and truth and honour. These 
Are the nine virtues of the soul, 
Her mystic powers and ecstasies.

And when I see you bravely tread

That difficult and doubtful way,
"Up, waverer; wilt thou forsake
Thy comrade?" to my soul I say.

Then bitterness and sullen fear,
Mistrust and anger, are no more.

That quick gay step is in the hall;
That rallying voice is at the door.